Animal games abound and if you have a favourite with your group be sure to use it. Equally many groups have Christmas traditions, which include games they ‘always’ play, if so don’t worry about the season overtaking the message, Christmas is a time of celebration and not everything always needs to link. However, if you don’t have either of the above, here are a few suggestions.
Camel races – Camels can travel a long distance but be prepared for them to collapse in this race. Get your youngsters into teams of tree, 2 people will act as legs and the smallest will be the hump! You could even add a blanket over the hump then have the camels collect and carry gold, frankincense and myrrh packages from around the room!
Woollen treasures – use a mixture of cotton wool and packaging material to fill a large deep container with ‘sheep’s wool’. Take a small multi-part toy, a small puzzle, or even building bricks and hide inside the ‘wool’. Tell the youngsters that the sheep were given gifts to hold like the camels but lost them when they had their ‘wool cut’. This can be a single group activity or a race with 2 or more groups
Donkey teeth – This is a really really silly game a little bit like chubby bunnies but with less of a possibility of choking! you will need to find something small and flat to be donkey teeth, like small biscuits, wafers or similar, cut them down so they aren’t much over 2 cm long- if you find nothing you can even use card. Gather your children and ask them what they know about Donkeys. Try and elicit the 2 answers of ‘big teeth’ and they make a ‘bray’ sound. have all the children say ‘bray’… then slowly give them extra big teeth, after each additional tooth the children need to repeat the ‘bray sound’. (‘b’ is made by pushing your lips together, something impossible with oversized teeth, so expect frustration and giggles) Mirrors are recommended!
Whose zoo – This is a game I used to play with my youth group but also work well with kids. Chose a child to be the zoo-keeper and send them out the room, then have each child chose an animal to be and share their animal noise and movement with the group (this ensures there are no duplications). Have the children leave the sitting area and move around the room. Invite the zoo-keeper back in and say the animals have escaped, they will come back (to their seats) if the zoo keeper calls out their names.
Sheep separation – This is a noisy and silly game for a group. Choose 2 herdsmen, and assign them each a colour. Using chairs, or some sort of barriers, make sheep pens. Tell all the other children they must pretend to be sheep, on all fours. If someone comes and stands near them they must turn away from the person. when all the children are on all fours mark their backs with a coloured dot. The herdsmen then need to herd the sheep into the right pen.
Pass the parcel – Some traditional games suit the story, and I, yes, this one suits so many. Gifts abound in the Christmas stories and you can add animals between the layers and have the kids act them out.
Grandma has put together an advent calendar that has cue words for the nativity figures.
When you pass the camel you say, “We seek Him too.”
When you pass the sheep you say, “Jesus, the Lamb of God.”
We don’t have a donkey in the advent book, but just like the donkey carried Mary, Jesus “carried our sins.”
The calendar is currently available to print out in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Portuguese.
Additional games and lessons are also available to print out.